House of Representatives likely to pass TikTok ban: What happens next?

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The House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote Wednesday morning on the bill that would require TikTok to be divested from its China-based parent company ByteDance or face a ban over national security concerns.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act was introduced last week by Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., who are the bipartisan leaders of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The bill seeks to block apps controlled by foreign adversaries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

If enacted, the bill would give ByteDance six months to sell TikTok to an entity outside of China, and if it fails to do so, U.S. companies that operate app stores like Google and Apple or host websites would be required to ban TikTok. The app has raised concerns about its potential to serve as a propaganda and surveillance tool due to ByteDance’s CCP links, as well as concerns about its algorithm surfacing harmful content to young users.

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bill on a unanimous 50-0 vote, and it is likely to pass the full House on a bipartisan vote. President Biden also indicated he would sign the bill into law if it reaches its desk – though it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.

DEFYING TRUMP, HOUSE GOP PLANS TO FORGE AHEAD WITH TIKTOK BILL THAT COULD BAN APP

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has not indicated his plans for bringing the House’s TikTok bill up for a vote and said he would wait to see what the House does and that he would speak with committee leaders about the bill. 

Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has indicated she prefers a different bill known as the GUARD Act that would give the Commerce Department authority to regulate foreign-owned apps like TikTok without banning them entirely.

TIKTOK FACES BAN IN BIPARTISAN BILL IF BYTEDANCE DOESN’T DIVEST OWNERSHIP

TikTok ByteDance China

It remains uncertain whether the Senate will consider the legislation. Senators on both sides of the aisle have continued to weigh in on the threat of TikTok even as some senators oppose the House bill.

“China is our chief adversary, and the CCP is ruthless,” Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., told FOX Business in a statement. “Their ownership of this AI weapon aimed at America and our kids needs to be addressed. It’s a serious national security issue.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said during a committee hearing on Monday that, “Donald Trump was right years ago when he pointed out the enormous national security concerns around TikTok, both in terms of obtaining data, but also think about the percentage – I think there are about 170 million Americans who use TikTok.”

TRUMP SAYS TIKTOK A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT BUT YOUNG PEOPLE WILL ‘GO CRAZY’ WITHOUT IT

If the House bill passes and the Senate takes action on an amended version of the bill or different legislation altogether, the two chambers will need to agree on a version of the bill that can be passed by both and sent to President Biden’s desk to get signed into law. 

FCC COMMISSIONER SAYS TIKTOK IS A ‘CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER’ TO US NATIONAL SECURITY

National Security Officials Worldwide Threat Hearing

Officials from the FBI, Justice Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed House lawmakers about TikTok on Tuesday. 

The briefing comes a day after ODNI, which oversees U.S. intelligence agencies, released its annual worldwide threat assessment which noted that China has used tools like TikTok for foreign influence operations.

“China is demonstrating a higher degree of sophistication in its influence activity, including experimenting with generative AI. TikTok accounts run by a PRC propaganda arm reportedly targeted candidates from both political parties during the U.S. midterm cycle in 2022,” ODNI wrote.

TikTok has said the House bill is “an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it.” The company added that it would “trample the First Amendment rights” of its 170 million U.S.-based users.

The platform sent notifications to its U.S. users, including children, who deluged congressional offices with phone calls and correspondence to lobby against the bill after it was introduced last week. Despite those efforts, the bill advanced unanimously out of committee and Republican leaders in the House said it would receive a floor vote this week.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.

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